Varanasi (UP): The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) will soon start online booking for delivering idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh as well as earthen lamps for Diwali celebrations. This is a step towards promoting local products and replacing Chinese items.

Potters, mainly from Varanasi region, will play a key role in KVIC’s venture, which entered the e-commerce industry in July, with handmade paper packaging materials to prevent plastic pollution.

According to KVIC Chairman Vinay Kumar Saxena,”We have decided to begin online sale of earthen lamps and idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh this Diwali. The initiative aims at promoting Swadeshi products and reduce the import of these articles from China. The KVIC will make it possible with the help of the potters’ fraternity, especially from Varanasi region.”

He said the KVIC has distributed more than 2,700 electric potter wheels among potters in Varanasi to revive the pottery industry in the region.

Similar initiatives were taken at the pottery clusters of Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Leh, Haryana and Gujarat, he added.

The Diwali items for home delivery through online orders will be largely procured from Varanasi and Gorakhpur while other regions will also contribute.

The KVIC has set an initial target of selling at least one lakh Lakshmi-Ganesh idols apart from earthen lamps this year.

In case the demand goes up, potters will be asked to increase the production.

KVIC officials said potters in villages, including Arjunpur, Khalispur, Dhamanpur, Mankaiya, Devapur, Daulatiya and Abhini, were being especially trained to make Lakshmi-Ganesh idols, decorative lamps, earthen magic lamps, earthen lamps, earthen chandeliers and other home decorative and gift items.

With its entry in e-commerce, KVIC has ensured the use of eco-friendly packaging materials as per the principle of ‘Green Chemistry’.

The KVIC uses handmade paper envelopes/packets and carton boxes for packaging except for liquid materials where plastic wraps are nominally used to prevent leakage during transit.

The KVIC is also preparing to replace plastic for packing face-masks with specially designed handmade paper envelopes made of banana fibre.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has already directed e-commerce companies to check excessive use of plastic in packaging while the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also been asked to take the necessary steps to curb plastic pollution.